Steamboat Springs The stiff winds that pounded Routt County on Saturday caused moderate damage at Pearl Lake, but they also worked miracles at Steamboat Lake State Park.
Park officials said Monday that the warm winds ate up almost all of the snowdrifts in the campgrounds, allowing the park to open all 188 campsites in time for the Memorial Day weekend. Officials say a substantial amount of ice that remained on Steamboat Lake on Saturday morning was gone by the end of the day after the winds shoved the ice into Placer Cove and up against the dam.
Park administrative assistant Kirk Mahaffie said Monday that roughly 25 percent of the campsites remain available for this weekend.
“Everything is pretty mushy, but we lost most of our standing snow,” Mahaffie said. “Of course, it’s snowing hard right now — I can’t even see Sand Mountain. It will definitely be spring, high-country camping.”
Karl Bunker, of Steamboat Lake Marina, said his business is offering boat rentals, but his cabins are booked solid Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with ample availability Monday.
If the weather relents, Mahaffie said, officials also are optimistic they’ll be able to open campsites at Pearl Lake for the holiday weekend. Crews were busy cleaning up Monday after the wind blew down trees and took the domed roof off a yurt at the pocket park a couple of miles from Steamboat Lake.
The blow-downs at Pearl Lake likely are attributable to efforts last year to clear out dangerous standing dead lodgepole pine trees that were victims of the pine beetle epidemic, Mahaffie said. Thinning the dead trees often weakens other nearby trees in unpredictable ways, he explained.
As of Monday, 35 campsites at the Bridge Island Campground were open, and 40 more sites with electrical hookups in the Wheeler Campground were open. Both campgrounds are at Steamboat Lake.
The best way to reserve campsites at Steamboat Lake State Park for the holiday weekend, Mahaffie said, is to visit this site.